Welcome to Penang Hill Airport Terminal – oops, Railway Station (updated)

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Update (14 March 2012): From what I hear through the grapevine, these outlandish plans for Penang Hill have been scrapped and a low-key design will probably be adopted. Hopefully, good sense has prevailed.

12 September 2011: Why can’t they leave Penang Hill alone? Obviously, some people have not learned any lessons from the fiasco over the “upgrading” of the Penang Botanic Garden.

The proposed view from the main entrance of the Hill Railway

This is what some people are dreaming up for Penang Hill. Looks almost like an airport terminal. Goodness gracious me!

This steel roof under Phase One will cover 8000 square feet of the bottom station
A covered walkway from the Bottom Station to a car-park at a temple on the right of the station
Covered walkway from the summit station

This is what one environmentalist has to say:

The write up for the proposed development at the lower station, car park and upper station has a certain logic. However, the proposed structures that will be built seems way too excessive. All the concrete, steel and glass seems to me to be unnecessary and no way blend with the natural environment and attractions of Penang Hill.

It is premature to propose these structures when a special area plan (SAP) is being developed by the consultant group from KL at the present moment. Presumably, the SAP would be a master plan that would be based on the gazetted Local Plan of Penang Hill.

The Local Plan, which was the effort of policy makers, planners, and environmental scientists was guided and based on the earlier Structure Plan, which recognises the special character of Penang Hill- its historical character, its ecological importance as water catchment area, its biological role as the last refuge of the remaining biological diversity of Penang and is one of the few natural landscapes and outdoor recreational areas left in Penang. As such, the natural heritage should be preserved and development be undertaken sensitively.

The tourism approach for Penang should be nature tourism, or eco-tourism and not mass tourism as (what appears to be) advocated (here). (The) objective (seems to be) getting developers and investors to operate all the facilities at the upper, lower and middle station. Investors will naturally want to make money and attract as large a crowd as possible. This may not be the best for Penang Hill.

In the master plan of the SAP which is due for completion this year, there should be a serious assessment of the environmental carrying capacity of the hill in their development proposal. How many people can Penang Hill take without a deterioration of the environment? What are adverse ecological impacts on the biodiversity, which is a major attraction of the hill complex? Phrases like Penang Hill should be “developed as a must-see destination for visitors” seems like repeating the mantra of mass tourism, which if carried out would destroy the peace and tranquility of the hill, where visitors can appreciate the unique characteristics of Penang Hill.

How many people should Penang Hill have? How is the total carrying capacity determined? What kind of infrastructure should be there and not spoil the ambience of the place? In many tourism destinations around the world, there is now limits to the numbers of visitors that can be there at any one time.

These questions should be answered before approval be given to building massive infrastructures. What are the numbers that the proposed infrastructure is meant to serve? None of these questions have been asked or answered.

Another reaction from a concerned Penangite:

Despite the new funicular, it should not be forgotten that the stations themselves are heritage structures dating back to the 1920s. They are fully intact in both form and materials and any development around them, if deemed necessary, should enhance rather than dominate and overshadow the historical buildings. For too long, we have been subject to the mistaken belief that if the historical structure is retained, the surroundings may be sacrificed to any kind of development. We have seen resulting configurations on Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah and Kelawei Road, where the original buildings have become totally lost, enclosed, obscured and rendered meaningless without their curtilage.

The same is being proposed at the Bottom Station. The structure is over-the-top, heavy, dominating and non-sympathetic. It renders the original station completely meaningless in the overall presentation. The brief requires a covered waiting area, it could be answered in so many ways rather than in this over-designed fashion – it could be light-weight, soft, it could be partially underground as the site slopes upwards, it could be elongated along the sides with the centre space planted and green. It could be inviting and friendly instead of monolithic and heavy.

The Top Station should be left alone. The โ€˜Walkwayโ€™ is totally uncalled for. If people come up the hills they do not expect to be protected from the elements. The way the walkway has been designed with its inverted roof ridges, it is very minimal in its protection anyway, the slightest wind-driven rain will wet anyone sheltering. By all means, enlarge the waiting area around the station slightly, in a low key fashion, but please leave the rest alone. People bring umbrellas and sun hats; they are going up the hills; they are not asking to be protected from the winds and rain and sun and mist.

People visit Penang Hill because they want to experience Nature and see the open skies and green hills and be exposed to the elements.

As someone noted, if they want to be sheltered and in comfort, they would be better off lepaking at one of Penang’s many (under-frequented) air-conditioned shopping malls where they can wallow in the consumerist culture.

Look, almost the whole of Penang Island is now getting congested. They messed up the Penang Botanic Garden. Then the Penang Turf Club land has been carved up and sold.

Now others are setting their sights on Penang Hill. They have removed the heritage trains and put out of operations the solid antique machinery. Not contented with that, they now want to mess with the heritage railway stations.

Please stick to the Penang Hill Local Plan and leave Penang Hill alone. (Why do we even need a ‘special area plan’ for the Hill? Why not make public and enforce both the Penang Hill Local Plan, formulated in the late 1990s, and the Penang Island Local Plan, which was approved in 2008 but has not yet seen the light of day?)

I think my theory still holds: some people can’t bear to see any untouched green lungs, public spaces or heritage icons. They have this itch to “upgrade” or “develop”, which usually means installing tawdry (and mostly useless) concrete and steel structures or pouring concrete and tarmac all over the place. (Think of the now demolished Leaning Arches of Botanic Garden.)

Be contented with the RM5m ‘Kancil car park’ legacy to Penang – another monument to misguided notions of “development”.

Now give us a break and save Penang Hill.

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khang hung

please organize a design competition and let the people choose the best design

Ric Francis

I am so angry that this project will only cover up the old world charm of the buildings.Now I learn some one from the update of the railway will chair the railway board.Like inviting dracular to run the blood bank
Cover ups will be the norm.Like over price parts
Ric

tunglang

They Feds need ‘$$$$blood’ from Satu Lagi Projeks to stay more ‘$$$$bloody-thirsty’ for Kang Tau.
Nothing is enough, even if it means covering up the entire Penang Hill Railway becos the weather is getting hotter!
Next will be fencing up the entire track with platinum coated fencing to keep out the stray dogs from barking at the vulnerable fridge train.
They Feds don’t care about heritage value, much less about Ah Kong’s blood, sweat & tears money.

Islandjoe

Why can’t people look at a resource such as Penang Hill and leave it alone. Does everything have to be turned into a theme park? Do we need to have hoards of tour busses ferrying people who have no idea why they even want to be up on Penang Hill? Certain people if they don’t like to be outdoors can watch everything from their TV so we should not destroy this natural resource to showcase an altered state of Penang Hill which will be morphed into a bunch of buildings on a hill that has no significance. Just look at… Read more »

ong eu soon

money! money!money! must be funny! In a rich man world!

ong ong

That’s why penang people can’t be rich

tunglang

You mean dollars & cents only?
Some simpler folks are richer in other ways which some wealthy people lack like social consideration, emotional intelligence (EQ), cultural distinctions or legacies or even graceful social interaction.
Not everything should be materialistic acquisition and money, which BTW is only a means to an end and not to be idolized as the destination of living.
When one finally dies, can he take all the monetary wealth with him? Ask King Tutankhamun (Egyptian Pharaoh).

tunglang

The current trend of ‘mass’ tourism is to move tourists from one end to the other so that the incoming groups will be move likewise. Big tour companies/agencies love that to maximize profits. Just look at Genting and you will know what I mean. Botanic Garden seems to go that way of theme parks which is more harmful to the flora & fauna, which by nature are created for serene, refreshing ambience and space to grow and flourish. Botanic Garden should be a space for one to discover, learn and marvel at Nature: crawl on all 4 to smell, touch… Read more »

Ong ong

Now, I like to hike up the hill in the morning with my friends, for 2 hours, enjoy the fresh air up there and eat the fried rice and ice kacang, the new hawker centre is very nice, can enjoy the mist, but the stage is ugly, get rid of it, need some entertainment up there, then after that i take photos then i want a fast ride down cause i need to go to work. =D Penang hill is awesome

Ong Ong

This project sounds cool but then the lower station is kinda ugly. The steel roof very cheap~

Ong Ong

One more thing, Penang Hill is kinda ugly now. The inverted roof is kinda cool, you see now they have set up “Umbrella Roof” for the binocular service, does that necessary? Get rid of them la and build a better one. Enhance, beautify the station, then upgrade the green at the other side of the hill = CANTIK! If want to leave Penang Hill alone, remove all the tram, build back the tree, you go back to your home and sleep.

tuakee

Look what they have kept at Sri Lanka’s Botanic Garden at Kandy ?
their Botanic Garden, a historical one, remains very charming and simple and no intention to make the entrance the futuristic look.

Yang

Here we keep worrying about environment while Ah Cheap Kor and his gang keep raping us of our money through cowgate and personal spending on lavish dinner using our hard earned money. We should think more on how to get rid of AMMo and the Najib together with their sycophants

kee

It is really so ugly the structure does not blend with the nature…

Anil, pull it down…

Why cant Malasians do something right? Who is/are the architect(s)??? Shame shame shame !!!

ong eu soon

Sorry! The architect is Jimmy Lim but he is not responsible. The whole ideas came from somewhere else nobody is interested to listen to his view. Making Jimmy Lim vent out his frustration in the press! Why appoint Jimmy as the project manager cum architect and refuse to accept his design instead came out with a plan from no where? Who to blame? LKC? AC? or lgE!

Yang

We cannot always have it both ways. As long as development does not encroach beyond existing development I think it is OK.

Ho Ho Ho

Ho ๐Ÿ™„ Ho ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Ho ๐Ÿ˜†

:mrgreen: Cool it man….how i wish we can enjoy this BEAUTY sing for us at ‘Bukit Bendera’ standing along this beautiful Railway Station from Rain n Sun… ๐Ÿ™„

tuakee

ho ho ho
shakira shakes her “booty” to sensually and may not get Rice Anak Yatim permission to perform live in Malaysia.
A safer bet could be to get M Daub Kilau to joget shake in the garden sure MELETUP !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdOQkUDY8tM&w=400

๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

tunglang

We don’t need Darth Vader to start another terrestrial verbal war. We Penangites will only Kau Peh Kau Boh when unreal things are about to happen. Already enough of the 2 BG Arches of arrogant, wasteful spending and then this Speedy Gonzales fridge train of unreal experience and penchant for frequent break down, why should we face another Satu Lagi Projek to Kau Tim after the fact (of completion)? We are not ‘Chiak Pah Siow Eng’ to be problem solvers of somebody’s fault on purpose. Much less milking Ah Kong’s money on Singland’s Condo. The best is to leave Penang… Read more »

JJ

Should shed some light if this is a federal goverment project and in the hand of tourism minister. From the look it smack of arrogance spending and vulgar architecture and someone who does not do background research of the surrounding. We need to take this further and make sure it does not go ahead. How do we go about Anil?

Nicholas

I think the design is ugly, some how an upgrade of the place is a need IMO. Perhaps the design should change to something more towards green architecture, more glass. Glass somehow blends into the green lungs of the place. Penang should not left behind and be an old city, it must be upgraded to be on par with Singapore and Hong Kong.Yet, a win-win plan must be be discuss between the rakyat and the developer.

jimmy

Wow so nice, great job from state government!

semuanya OK kot

‘They have this itch to โ€œupgradeโ€ or โ€œdevelopโ€, which usually means installing tawdry (and mostly useless) concrete and steel structures or pouring concrete and tarmac all over the place.’

The primary itch may be to collect the money, not so much to develop. However, I cannot be so sure of this in view of the “private” development many people carry out on every available surface of their own homes with stone, marble, cement, steel and glass.

One underlying problem is the current understanding of wealth and economics.

nkkhoo

LGE can always blame BN for flooding in Penang, his own development plans are very different, never causing such problem.

tunglang

The itch to develop with mortar, steel, aluminum and now green glass panels (floor to ceiling) from super homes to office blocks, even places of worship is way too dizzy to comprehend. Some even call it ECO. Recycling of old materials is ‘lau yah’ and not up to standard of the wannabes of the rich and famous. Glitzy GaGas is now the trendy showcase of individualism and mantra for refreshing, redressing of anything unexciting. Heritage or legacies take a backstage. Just do it at all costs and beyond reasonable doubts are AOK without introspection. Even rebranding, a word used in… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

To Anil and nkkhoo
It is not a food court, it is the walkway. Jimmy Lim Cheok Siang has suggested to recycle the material from the old food court to build the walkway which LGe initially agreed but overturned by LKC. You can read the news in KwongWah at http://www.kwongwah.com.my/news/2011/09/02/132.html

kingkong

Look at the original structure of the penang hill station. The design life of a structure is more than 50 years before the next maintenance? By using recycle material, is there an assurance it can withstand the design life? If after 3 years, and the Station has to closed down for repair, Anil will report his his blog and readers will complain and wastage of public money and money goes to cronies.

nkkhoo

Some hardwood are more durable than steel.

LGE can reject it if his engineer comes out with data and facts to support his decision.

I see him as an incompetent CM with his unprofessional replies to many issues.

maharani

Life in Muar must be good for its residents.
MCA must be doing a good job to develop its cybertrooper.

kingkong

If one see the present CM is incompetent, then one can do something. Even 10% better than a incompetent CM is better than 0%. By not doing anything except shouting in this small blog, what conclusion does it comes to?

Which hardwood is durable than steel?

nkkhoo

Cannot sleep well after get my hentam in my blog ar?

Sze Tho

Yes, annoying pests can disturb sleep…..

nkkhoo

The conceptual drawing I saw in the Star looks like a concert hall, not the walkway.

Ong Eu Soon

LGe is very proud of this modern concept and futuristic structure as can be seen from his announcement that the hill station would go through โ€œreconceptioneering and reimagineering โ€” where new facilities would be built โ€” to make it different and more up to date according to modern trends. So now you know why the walkway is so futuristic! Can LGe later claimed that he has no say and doesn’t know anything about the project?

nkkhoo

A food court build with recycled material was proposed by a local professor was IGNORE by Lee Kah Choon.

Can LGE enlighten us about this? He attended the briefing which was reported in the Star.

nkkhoo

I will try to find it back.

The USM prof. did reveal to reporter about this matter recently. I think I read it in a Penang Chinese newspaper

nkkhoo

Ah Soon,

This project is no walkway, may we are talking different things.

http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2011/3/26/north/8351899&sec=north

Ong Eu Soon

The project has a new recreational walkway which is the main controversy at this blog. The original concept featured in the STAR seen to be no more.

kingkong

What has Mr Z has to do with Mr A? What has food court has to do with this Hill bringing irrelevance just to show how sore.

nkkhoo

Are you another ignorant DAP idiot?

Do you know Penang Hill development plan is more than shelter for the ground station, it including a food court on the hilltop.

Your master scrapped a RM 200,000 food court made from recycled materials and choose another ultra modern one which cost millions to build.

Go ask your master why? Actually we already know why, more expensive means more …?

kingkong

Ah Soon Khor does not use the type of lanaguage. Disgrace to your former schools by usng words like a samseng, triads and mafia. People can see the type of character by your choice of words. Go and ask your sifu.

nkkhoo

There is no other word to describe idiot except the idiot itself.

I still cannot live up to KSK character, no response to all sorts of attack.

Shukri

This blogger likes to call people (who disagree with him) idiots or bigots.

Please argue on issue without resorting to calling unnecessary names.

Bersopan santun adalah amalan blogging.

Sze Tho

Insolence due to poor response to his lame blog or perhaps a sympthom of a lame and lonely existence….

wira

No point arguing with him lah … he has no dignity in his conviction.

Not man enough to admit mistake when he is caught spewing misinformation. Even tries to argue back by shifting the subject matter.

sunnyooi

Oh suddenly building more is ok. It all depends on the material used now? Hipo.

wira

Anil,

I think you should let readers know who is the culprit behind this grandiose project.
Is this a federal project or one which is mooted by the state?

Unless you are gleefully pleased to see imbeciles displaying their immaturity here. ๐Ÿ™‚

tunglang

Art of War in progress already. Misinformation is lethal weapon without a show of force.
LGE should learn the entire volume of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.

wira

I see many agitated undignified goons here pointing their figures and writing authoritatively when the culprit is still yet to be identified.

Spare me the fight. haha …. ๐Ÿ˜€

nkkhoo

The project was proudly announced by Lee Kah Choon, ex-Gerakan who jumped ship to join LGE as Invest Penang Chief.

http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2011/8/11/north/9268255&sec=North

Use your brain to judge who is responsible. The money is either from the state or federal is not an debatable issue since both money is still from rakyat,

Ong Eu Soon

The culprit is the one who refuse to do anything after we voiced out our concerns. Now he has no opportunity to say that he does not know, he has no say! Eventually Ng Yan Yan will e smart enough to ask him to answer why he did the stupid thing again! This is a dilemma of LGe who love DEVELOPMENT so much that he can stoop so low to work with Ng Yan Yan. All LGe want is the federal money to be spent on Penang, to him as long as the federal money is used in Penang, he… Read more »

Nga Seg Son

” Monstrous Carbuncle ” – To quote Prince Charles from 1984 describing the proposed Sainsbury Wing of The National Gallery !
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbuncle

Gerakan K

We need political tsunami in Penang ASAP !!!

Andrew I

Yes, getting KTK and Hock None out of your namesake.

Andrew I

This will be harder to achieve than the 308 tsunami.

McSempit SS

I thought KTK has been swept by the receding low tide to Simpang Renggam to safeguard the Johor fortress with CSL?

Vetri marran

Kapitan pekat Lim Guan Eng and chinese ultra racist party coming out from their gloves… again they’ll use the same tactic by using ‘makkal sakthi’ to brainwash the poor people… Dey Kapitan Lim …

Ong Eu Soon

The whole upgrading of Penang Hill is a mess. First, the RM42million funicular train always breakdown, the frequency is as bad as the old antique funicular train. The design of the train did not take consideration of the steepness of the slope. Under the extreme load, soon it will be dismantled and demolished. Second, the RM5million Kancil car park which failed to obtain OC from MPPP will be demolished. Now, this RM4million dystopian walkway will be another project waiting to be demolished. LGe never learn from the Botanical Garden Arches demolition fiasco, now each and every pet project of LGe… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

The walkway is like something out of a dystopian fiction. Why one need to spend more than RM4 million to build a so called iconic futuristic walkway with strange and ugly structure that is not in harmony with the environment? Is this yet another BN project that LGe buat tak tau? Notwithstanding the Kancil car park in desperate need of demolition, LGe is striving to build another piece of useless, depressive structure that’s every existed for no future benefit. Renowned architect Jimmy Lim Cheok Siang proposed to use the rooftop and whatever materials of the old hawker center to build… Read more »

Ah Pek

Aiyo, Guan Eng ahh… didn’t any of your new found friends tell you the story of the Air Itam hills?

Go ask the Penang elders who know la — the Air Itam hills have brought many tragedies to those who try to invade it — even those having their own resort home on it.

Go do a survey before you touch the sacred forests in that area la.

tunglang

Who would believe it in this age of blink-blink materialism. For a break of short story: I once went hiking up a trail off Air Itam Dam. It is a long trail that goes right up to Penang Hill’s Tiger Hill or alternatively to Titi Kerawang waterfall. On the way back, it started to rain heavily at 5pm. Daylight suddenly became almost 7pm twilight zone. I had to seek shelter under some old,old trees with a stream nearby. The pitter-patter of rain water on trees, bushes, rocks and stream soon became ‘synchronized’ into more rapid succession. What seemed like normal… Read more »

LionKing

Lim Guan Eng balik la! Go back to Melaka where you belong! Whhy you all want to mess up my Penang Hill??

You shall not get away with this! Never!!!!

sunnyooi

Not sure why LGE is to be blamed here. Please explain.

tunglang

It is Satu Lagi Projek. Should ask Touristy YY.

Gerakan K

Undilah BN !!!

Sudah cuba alternatif selama 3 tahun dan mengalami kesusahan/kerosakan yang mungkin tidak akan dikembalikan kepada keadaan asal seperti Kg Buah Pala, keadaan alam sekitar, ekologi dan cara hidup warga Pinang.

tunglang

Nice to know Gerakan is spending more time in Ulu Malaysia. In a short space of time he may have lost touch with Queen’s English.
Harap anda maaf atas pandang saya yang Ulu-Ulu.

Gerakan K

Kaki roket mana tau apa itu strategi. Bahasa Melayu atau Inggeris itu tak penting. Ia hanya alat untuk berkomunikasi.

Dei, sudah lupa BM kah ???

Andrew I

You sudah lupa 53 tahun sampah.

Sze Tho

………..amen.

Andrew I

Was he ever in touch with the Queen’s English? I think he likes the Queen’s yellow dress.

Yang

Mana kah susahan kg buah pala. Kesusahan ialah 9 bodoh penduduk yang percayai Barang Naik (BN) MIC, Gerakan, UMNO dan MCA. 15 penduduk yang percayai PR akan masuk rumah yang bernilai RM850,000/- .
KBP yang akan datang akan menjadi lebih moden, lebih bersih dengan kemudahan seperti tanah untuk kuil dan kegiatan waktu lapang penduduk berbanding kepada KBP lama

GHT

Why are you barking at the wrong tree? I have read it is a 1Malaysia -BN project.

nkkhoo

Aiyoyo, let build an underground waiting room to replace the star war helmet shelter.

Naturalists and capitalists all happy and I can take the cable car photo without obstruction from the rooftop.

Ultra modern design is not fitting nicely with Penang Hill natural setting, the design should be changed to more traditional design.